Fuel spill fouls Hurley Park stream
By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury firefighters worked Wednesday to contain a fuel spill behind Rowan Regional Medical Center.
Early Wednesday, officials also notified the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to assist in containing the spill and trying to determine its origin.
The source is believed to be an underground residential fuel oil tank, probably abandoned.
By mid-day, the spill had contaminated close to a mile of a stream running through Hurley Park toward Grants Creek.
Fire Chief Bob Parnell said the initial call came from someone who smelled fuel.
As firefighters began investigating the source, they found a sheen on the water in a stream that runs through the area around Hurley and City parks.
Firefighters and the city-county Hazmat crew immediately began efforts to contain the spill.
Heavy rains Tuesday night and Wednesday caused a swollen stream.
“It’s very difficult to collect; the speed of the water has made collecting and cleaning very difficult,” Parnell said.
Firefighters put out hydrocarbon collection booms and other materials to absorb or slow the material moving toward Grants Creek.
Wednesday evening, an environmental cleanup crew said the source was probably a fuel oil tank that overflowed from all the rain.
Residents in the neighborhood who had fuel oil systems have mostly switched over to more modern heating.
The tank will have to be dug up, but the area will first have to be marked for underground utility and water lines. Digging is expected to begin today.
Parnell said no one is sure how much spilled. It appeared to have accumulated in the spillway at Hurley Park.
State environmental officials arrived on the scene shortly after noon Wednesday.